Whole LOTA Love

Mitch Cariaga

In the summer of 1998, I came across an article in a magazine talking about a place in Irvine, CA called Online Trading Academy. The article stated that they could teach you to make money like the big guys of Wall Street. I decided to give them a call. John O'Donnell, OTA’s Director of Research and PTW Presenter answered the phone. He invited me and my wife to come down to the Academy.

I was working as a pastor of a very small church at the time. My wife was a nurse, and we just had our fifth child. My wife always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but it was just not possible living in Southern California on my salary. So, after meeting everyone at OTA and learning about their education, my wife said, "I think we should give this a try, because if we don't do something different in our lives, nothing will ever change." I said, “Okay, let's give it a shot." I signed up, and it was not long, before I learned to trade with confidence.

A couple of years later, I got a phone call from John O’Donnell. He explained that “there's a gentleman who would like me to mentor him. He was quite a successful Chinese businessman making his money in the Asian telecom industry back in the '90s.” I agreed to meet with him. It turned out that his dream was to branch out into opening a stock trading business in China. After spending a week together, he asked me if we could partner up. He said, "I have the business experience and funding, but neither myself nor any of my staff actually knows how to trade." He looked straight at me and said, "But you do. I want you to partner with me, go with me to China, and teach them to trade. I'll provide the money for them to trade, and we'll share the profit." So, we teamed up, and I went to China.

I worked in China for quite a few years helping to open multiple trading floors around the country. At the same time I was helping to open trading floors in China, my wife began homeschooling our five children. She homeschooled them all the way up through middle school. They've all done very, very well. My youngest daughter, Shelby, is in law school in Virginia. She earned a three-year-scholarship.

After China, I ended up going to the Philippines to set up a trading floor—I'm half Filipino. I've been in the Philippines for the last 10 years now. From there, we went to Warsaw, Poland. After that, we went to Mumbai, India. Then I went to Cali, Colombia. My son, Kipton, who is currently on staff at Online Trading Academy partnered with me on that project down in Colombia. We've been quite active all these years setting up trading floors on three different continents.

Over 20 years ago, on June 4th, 1998, I walked into Online Trading Academy for the very first time. As John O'Donnell liked to say, I didn't know the difference between a stock and a rock that day, and it's true, I didn't. Today I am a confident trader. It's been a great experience. And it all started from my early days sitting on the trading floor at Online Trading Academy where they taught me the most important lesson I ever learned, not just for trading, but for life. They taught me to lose like a professional; lose small, gain large, lose small, gain large. This is true for anything in life. You're going to take risks to do well, but you need to make sure that when you take that risk, you lose small with the opportunity to gain large. I've taken that message all over the world.

But I’m not done. A couple of years ago, founder and owner of OTA Eyal Shahar, asked if I'd be willing to come back and do some work representing the Academy throughout Southern California. For the last year and a half now, I've been working as a presenter, speaking all over Southern California and sharing the story of Online Trading Academy. It's been a lot of fun. Not only has it been fun, life has come full circle. It's great to have my son at the Academy working where I began. My son remembers the old days. Because he was homeschooled, he used to come down with me to the trading floor. He would sit there and watch us all trade. The day after he graduated from high school, I put him on an airplane, and put him on our trading floor in Shenyang, China. He's been trading ever since. It's great for both of us to be back at the Academy working where I started so many years ago.